Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.
Who: Peggie Arvidson (the author) and her partner, Michael Rzepkowski, both of Centreville, Va.; Peggie’s parents, Pat and Bob Arvidson, of Williamsburg, Va.; and Peggie’s brother and sister-in-law, Bob Arvidson and Deborah Cook of Denver.
Where, when, why: Sedona, Ariz., and the surrounding area, April 23-30. We were inspired by a previous trip, the red rocks and the desire to celebrate our family connections.
Highlights and high points: The red rocks are completely mesmerizing. The first sight of them in the distance always takes my breath away. As the mountains meld into the blue skies, it’s easy to imagine a time of Wild West stagecoaches and the old-time Westerns filmed in the vicinity. There are hundreds of hiking options that range in difficulty from relatively easy to experienced, and the sights on the trails — including mountain vistas, dry creek beds and wildlife — can also take your breath away (literally and figuratively). One of the highlights was spending a day visiting the onetime near-ghost-town of Jerome and checking out the views from the restaurant of the Jerome Grand Hotel.
Cultural connection or disconnect: We’re big fans of the Virginia winery scene and were pleasantly surprised by the number of vineyards and wineries within 20 miles of Sedona. We planned to visit three in nearby Cornville. However, a rainy, snowy, cold Saturday made it impossible to get into Page Springs. With a multi-hour wait to get in for a tasting, we decided instead to visit Javelina Leap and Oak Creek Vineyards, which was a delight — from the decor to the service to the food and the wine. We would definitely visit again.
Biggest laugh or cry: After the winter we had in Northern Virginia, I was longing for the arid, warm temperatures in Arizona. We were prepared for springlike weather and all nearly cried when we saw snow forecast on the local news station. It didn’t snow for long, but it sure took us all by surprise when the white stuff started coming down in Arizona during the last week of April. But when the weather is less than stellar, you make the best of it. Because of the wild weather, we had the opportunity to explore wineries on one day, and on another, we attended a workshop with the local “critter expert,” Maggy. She helped me overcome my fear of spiders and snakes by allowing me to hold a blond tarantula and a gorgeous lemon-yellow gopher snake.
How unexpected: Sedona closes down by 9 p.m. and has a dearth of good to fine dining options. I never thought of myself as a “foodie” until we tried some of the highly rated restaurants, only to find that the flavors were dull, the presentation was lackluster and the ingredients seemed to have been recently frozen. Though there are some exceptions, this town is ready for a food renaissance!
Fondest memento or memory: The greatest gift is being able to travel and enjoy time with family. My brother and sister-in-law surprised us with their visit, and we loved exploring and hiking with them.
A big takeaway is the reminder that being outdoors on a daily basis is good for the body, the mind and the soul. This country is full of natural beauty, and it’s a great privilege to explore that bounty.
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